Carinity has welcomed Graham Hembrow as the new coordinator of Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy. Graham told us a bit about his spiritual journey and career path:
Like so many others I had a challenging childhood marked by abuse, bullying and violence which meant I had to grow up quicker than many of my peers. I had amazingly supportive and loving parents who did their very best to support and understand what I was going through.
My life continued to spiral into destructive and violent behaviours throughout my teens and early adulthood, however that all changed with the birth of my son Ryan who I have raised on my own as a solo parent – a truly life changing opportunity.
My passion for prison ministry was realised when a close family member was imprisoned in 2002 and I, like so many others, began the weekly ritual of visiting. It was while visiting one day that I had a prison waiting room encounter with a Pastor. He was there as part of his church’s prison ministry, that led to his salvation and his subsequent faith journey.
I came to Christ on ANZAC Day 2004, and was baptised a month later on Mother’s Day. God was wasting no time at all: shortly after my parents followed suit becoming Christians and I along with my Pastor baptised them. I went on to gain a Bachelor of Theology & Philosophy from Australian Catholic University and serve as an Associate Pastor with Australian Christian Churches, before leaving to oversee Drug ARM Australasia’s Homeless Outreach Services across Queensland.
I began my prison ministry journey in 2005 as a Prison Chaplain at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre. This was followed by stints at Brisbane Correctional Centre and Wolston Correctional Centre, before resigning and joining the State Chaplaincy Board for Corrections in 2017.
This is a role I remain in as I join the Carinity family as the Inside Out Prison Chaplaincy (IOPC) Coordinator. I am excited for the future of IOPC. I believe the very best is yet to come as we seek to expand the ministry by welcoming new chaplains to our existing chaplaincy team, and introduce new programs over time in order to ensure we are sharing the Love of Christ and the Gospel effectively with the prisoners across Queensland.